top of page

Grieve the Holy Spirit: Be Aware of 6 Big Dangers

Grieve the Holy Spirit: Be Aware of 6 Big Dangers
How do we grieve the Holy Spirit? Bitterness, wrath, clamor, evil speaking, malice, unforgiveness, and unkindness. St. Paul, Ephesians 4:31

Table of contents:

Grieve the Holy Spirit: Be Aware of 6 Big Dangers

Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. Ephesians 4:30

The meaning of "Grieve"

The Greek word used here is translated as hurt, make sad, upset or offend elsewhere. Most of us don’t want to offend anyone, much less the Lord. But the Lord hates sin and it cuts off our access to Him:

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear me: – Psalm 66:18

(When the Old Testament uses the word LORD (7274 times), it includes Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the three Persons of the One God.)

Isaiah* expands on this:

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. – Isaiah* 59:2

(*Means there is a bio of this person in SPIRITUAL LIVES)

Clearly, we need to steer clear of sin, but where do we start? St. Paul* gives us some hints at ways that may have such an impact in the next verse:

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: Ephesians 4:31

St. Paul* is speaking here to Christians, God’s people, in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. His presence defines us as belonging to Jesus.

His presence is not in unbelievers, those who are not “born again.” Paul explains to the Romans,

Those who obey their human nature cannot please God.

But you do not live as your human nature tells you to; instead, you live as the Spirit tells you to—if, in fact, God’s Spirit lives in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Romans 8:8-9

Theologian Albert Barnes has identified 6 ways we can grieve the Holy Spirit:

Grieve by (1) Open and gross sins

Barnes lists “theft, falsehood, anger, and kindred vices.” I can think of no more open and gross sin than idolatry. Solomon*, the wisest man who ever lived, to whom the LORD appeared twice, grieved the LORD with His idolatry:

Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon*, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee and will give it to thy servant. – 1 Kings 11:11

But long before the kingdom was taken from him, the Spirit of God had departed and was replaced by another spirit that left him empty and in despair:

vanity of vanities; all is vanity. – Ecclesiastes 1:2

What a change from Solomon’s words when the Spirit of the Lord was with him:

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. – Proverb 3:5:6

Grieve the Spirit of the LORD by (2) Anger, in all its forms.

4 verses before his warning about grieving the Spirit, Paul* says this:

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Ephesians 4:26

Barnes says:

Nothing is more suited to drive away all serious and tender impressions from the mind than the indulgence of anger.

God was often angry, and so was Jesus* when He drove the money-changers from the temple, but this was anger at sin and was under the Spirit’s control

King Uzziah* was the second longest reigning king of Judah, and one of the best.

He did right in the sight of the LORD, and

as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper. 2 Chronicles 26:5

But at the height of his power, he usurped the office of the priest, took the censor from his hand, and tried to offer the sacrifice in the Temple. When the priests resisted:

And Uzziah was angry. And he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of Jehovah, from beside the incense altar.– 2 Chronicles 26:19

He remained a leper for the rest of his life, and the crown passed to his son.

This object lesson affirms the wisdom of the Lord’s brother:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: James 1:19

Grieve the Holy Spirit of God by (3) Licentious thoughts and desires.

Barnes tell us,

The Spirit of God is pure, and he dwells not in a soul that is filled with corrupt imaginings.

David*, the man after God’s own heart, through whom the Holy Spirit wrote the psalms, grieved the Spirt in this way.

Instead of doing his job as king, David was idle at home:

And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof, he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. – 2 Samuel 11:2

You know the story. David let his lust and sexual desire overcome the commandment he knew so well, and he committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his faithful men of valor.

When she became pregnant, David tried to cover it up, and when that did not work, he had her husband killed. How could a man “after God’s own heart” do such wickedness?

This was David who said

The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. 2 Samuel 23:2

Those “Licentious thoughts and desires” grieved the Spirit, and He withdrew.

We need to learn from this and operate in the Spirit as Paul advises Timothy to treat

The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. – 1 Timothy 5:2

Grieve the Spirit by (4) Ingratitude.

We see a striking example of this in Jeroboam*

The LORD gave him ten tribes of Israel to rule and instead of serving the LORD Jeroboam* built golden calves and led Israel into idolatry. The result was this word from the LORD:

Because I exalted you from among the people and made you leader over my people Israel

and tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, and yet you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commandments and followed me with all his heart, doing only that which was right in my eyes,

but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back,

therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free in Israel, and will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone. – 1 Kings 14:7-10

Israel never repented and never recovered from this sin, and the Spirit of the Lord never returned. God sent the Assyrians to destroy them in 721 BC.

Grieve the Spirit by (5) Neglect.

The Spirit of God left Judah as well. When King Josiah* sought to find Him, he found the Book of the Law in the Temple. It had been lost for hundreds of years! The religious rites had been performed without the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

Josiah* tore his clothes and repented, and God forgave him.

Go, enquire of the LORD for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do after all that is written in this book. -2 Chronicles 34:21

But the judgment for that neglect came after his death when Judah was judged, the Temple destroyed, and the people carried off to Babylon.

This is what happens to us when we neglect our time with the Holy Spirit. We lose interest in the Bible, stop reading it, and allow the spirit of this world to take us captive. The result is a spiritual Babylonian captivity of our hearts.

Grieve the Spirit by (6) Resistance.

These words of Albert Barnes are a warning and encouragement:

Christians often resist the Holy Spirit. He would lead them to be dead to the world, yet they drive on their plans Of gain.

He would teach them the folly of fashion and vanity, yet they deck themselves in the most frivolous apparel.

He would keep them from the splendid party, the theater, and the ballroom; yet they go there.

We do these things not because we are wicked but because we have quenched the Spirit:

All that is needful for a Christian to do in order to be eminent in piety, is to yield to the gentle influences which would draw him to prayer and to heaven. – Barnes

3 antidotes to grieving the Holy Spirit

The first comes from St. Paul, immediately following the command: Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God:

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. – Ephesians 4:31-32

Jude, the brother of the Lord, gives us a second:

But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. – Jude 1:20-21

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself gives us the third. It is a simple call to obedience followed by an eternal, blood-bought promise:

If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.- John 14:23

What better safeguard can there be than having the Father and Son abide with you, for they bring the Holy Spirit with them and He flows from them? Praise God!

What to do when I grieve Him? Repent! Jesus loves to forgive, and He will bring His Holy Spirit with Him

Hover o’er me, Holy Spirit, you can listen here:

Bathe my trembling heart and brow;

Fill me with Thy hallowed presence,

Come, O come and fill me now.


Fill me now, fill me now,

Jesus, come and fill me now;

Fill me with Thy hallowed presence,

Come, O come and fill me now.

2 Thou canst fill me, gracious Spirit,

Though I cannot tell Thee how;

But I need Thee, greatly need Thee,

Come, O come and fill me now. (Refrain)

3 I am weakness, full of weakness,

At Thy sacred feet I bow;

Blest, divine, eternal Spirit,

Fill with power, and fill me now. (Refrain)

4 Cleanse and comfort, bless and save me,

Bathe, O bathe my heart and brow;

Thou are comforting and saving,

Thou art sweetly filling now. (Refrain)

Elwood H. Stokes (1879)

18 views0 comments


bottom of page